Evil science

No mater how you twist or turn it, when you are complicit to a crime, you are just as guilty as the perpetrator, and perhaps even more guilty because you were an enable of that crime.

Hermann Stieve was Director of the Berlin Institute of Anatomy from 1935 to 1952, which was from the early days of the Third Reich until 7 years after the war.

His research on the female reproductive system is controversial, as some of his scientific insights derived from histological investigations on the genital organs of executed women. These investigations were made possible by the sharp increase in executions during the “Third Reich.” Stieve’s research was methodologically accurate and contributed significantly to contemporary scientific debates. Nevertheless, his use of the organs of execution victims, some of them resistance fighters, benefited from the Nazi justice system. He thus indirectly supported this system of injustice.

Charlotte Pommer , a young physician, who had been an assistant to Dr Stieve, reported after the war.

“On 22nd of December 1942 eleven men were hanged and five women decapitated. Fifteen minutes later they were laid out on the dissection tables in the anatomical institute. [She] lay on the first table, […] on the third table the big lifeless body of her husband […] I felt paralyzed and could hardly assist Professor Stieve, who – as always- carried out his scientific exploration with great care and uncommon diligence […] After the impressions of that night I resigned from my position”

Stieve wanted to study human organs. He was able to get some donated uteruses and ovaries from the bodies of accident victims, or from surgeons who had removed them. One of the best historical sources of organs for research, the bodies of executed criminals, had not been available during the early years of his research as the Weimar government made very minimal use of the death penalty, and did not execute any women. In a 1931 letter Stieve complained that it was difficult to get a set of ovaries from a healthy woman.

After the National Socialist regime came to power in January 1933, one of its first goals was the reorganization of the universities. Leadership of the universities was taken away from the individual German states and centralized within the Ministry of Education in Berlin, which was also responsible for the anatomical institutes. This included research funding, recruitment of faculty, and the professional society, the Anatomische Gesellschaft. In terms of the body procurement, the Ministry of Education shared this responsibility with the Ministry of Justice, when bodies from prisons and executions were concerned. All science was to be aligned with NS doctrine and to be utilized for war purposes.

Stieve, who had accepted a professorship at what is now Humboldt University of Berlin as well as the directorship of its anatomical institute, reached an agreement with administrators at Plötzensee Prison outside the city to accept all bodies of those shot, hanged or beheaded, many of them political prisoners. Others were “Polish and Russian slave laborers executed for such acts as socializing with German women,” according to Seidelman. Over the entire Nazi era that came to around 3,000 victims, many more bodies than Stieve needed for research purposes. It is alleged that during his research he claimed the corpses of 182 victims of the Nazi regime, 174 of whom were women at the age rank from 18 to 68, two thirds of victims were of German origin.

I just want to focus n 2 of his subjects.

Liane Berkowitz, a German resistance fighter and was most notable for being was a member of the Berlin-based pro-soviet resistance group that coalesced around Harro Schulze-Boysen, that was later called the Red Orchestra by the Abwehr. Arrested and sentenced to death, she was executed shortly after she gave birth to a daughter in custody.

The young mother was executed in Plötzensee Prison at 7.45 p.m on 5 August 1943, two days before her 19th birthday.

Liane’s daughter Irina was born on 12 April 1943 in the women’s prison on Barnimstraße.[The grandmother took care of the child from July 1943. As the Reichskriegsgericht pronounced the sentence recommendation when checking with Adolf Hitler to dismiss the pregnant Liane Berkowitz from prison, he expressly rejected any reprieve. The death sentence was confirmed by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel and countersigned. Her body was delivered to Hermann Stieve to be dissected for research. Her final resting place is unknown. Her daughter Irina died on 16 October 1943 in hospital in Eberswalde under unclear circumstances.

Mildred “Mili” Elizabeth Fish-Harnack was an American literary historian, author, translator, and resistance fighter, born in Wisconsin. After marrying Arvid Harnack, she moved with him to Germany, where she began her career as an academic. Fish-Harnack spent a year at the University of Jena and the University of Giessen working on her doctoral thesis. At Giessen, she witnessed the beginnings of Nazism. In 1930, the couple moved to Berlin and Fish-Harnack became an assistant lecturer in English and American literature at the University of Berlin. In the early 1930s, the couple became increasingly interested in the Soviet communist system. Harnack established a writers’ group that studied the Soviet planned economy, and the couple were able to arrange a visit to the Soviet Union during August 1932 and by 1933 they were fully committed to Soviet ideology. Through contacts at the American embassy, Fish-Harnack became friends with Martha Dodd, who became a part of her salon where they discussed current affairs. In 1936, Fish-Harnack’s translation of Irving Stone’s biography of Vincent van Gogh, Lust for Life, was published.

In 1938, the couple began to resist Nazism. They became friends with Louise and Donald Heath, who was First Secretary at the embassy, and to whom Harnack passed economic intelligence from his position at the Reich Trade Ministry. By 1940, the couple came into contact with other anti-fascist resistance groups and cooperated with them. The most important of these was run by German air force officer Harro Schulze-Boysen. Like numerous groups in other parts of the world, the undercover political factions led by Harnack and Schulze-Boysen later developed into an espionage network that collaborated with Soviet intelligence. Fish-Harnack became a resistance fighter as a member of a Berlin anti-fascist espionage group, later called the Red Orchestra (Rote Kapelle) by the Abwehr. The couple were arrested in September 1942 and executed shortly after.

On 7 September 1942, the Harnacks were arrested by the Gestapo at the seaside village of Preila on the Curonian Spit.

Harnack was sentenced to death on 19 December after a four-day trial before the Reichskriegsgericht (“Reich Military Tribunal”), and was executed three days later at Plötzensee Prison in Berlin. Fish-Harnack was initially given six years in prison, but Adolf Hitler refused to endorse the sentence and ordered a new trial, which resulted in a death sentence on 16 January 1943.She was beheaded by guillotine on 16 February 1943. While she was imprisoned, She was the only American woman executed on the direct orders of Adolf Hitler.

After her execution, her body was released to Hermann Stieve to be dissected for his research into the effects of stress, such as awaiting execution, on the menstrual cycle. After he was finished, he gave what was left to a friend of hers, who had the remains buried in Berlin’s Zehlendorf Cemetery.

Unlike the research of Nazi scientists who became obsessed with racial typing and Aryan superiority, Stieve’s work didn’t end up in the dustbin of history. The tainted origins of this research, along with other studies and education that capitalized on the Nazi supply of human body parts—continue to haunt German and Austrian science, which is only now fully grappling with the implications. Some of the facts, amazingly, are still coming to light. And some German, Austrian, and Polish universities have yet to face up to the likely presence of the remains of Hitler’s victims, their cell and bone and tissue, in university collections that still exist today.

sources

https://web.archive.org/web/20150715183928/http://www.gedenkstaette-ploetzensee.de/zoom/09_6_dt.html

https://slate.com/human-interest/2013/11/mildred-harnack-was-executed-by-hitler-for-resisting-the-nazis-now-we-know-what-happened-to-her-remains.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48215894

https://www.timesofisrael.com/microscopic-remains-of-nazi-victims-studied-by-german-doctor-buried-in-berlin/

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/history/2013/11/nazi_anatomy_history_the_origins_of_conservatives_anti_abortion_claims_that.html?via=gdpr-consent

https://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/jbc/article/view/10848/10058

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19173259/

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And the evil lived on.

“First do no harm” is a term often associated with the Hippocratic Oath. Although the association is technically incorrect, the Hippocratic Oath is nonetheless an oath that Doctors adhere to.

The Hippocratic Oath is an oath of ethics historically taken by physicians. It is one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. In its original form, it requires a new physician to swear, by a number of healing gods, to uphold specific ethical standards. The oath is the earliest expression of medical ethics in the Western world, establishing several principles of medical ethics which remain of paramount significance today. These include the principles of medical confidentiality and non-maleficence. As the seminal articulation of certain principles that continue to guide and inform medical practice, the ancient text is of more than historic and symbolic value. Swearing a modified form of the oath remains a rite of passage for medical graduates in many countries, and is a requirement enshrined in legal statutes of various jurisdictions, such that violations of the oath may carry criminal or other liability beyond the oath’s symbolic nature. The oath is attributed to the Greek doctor Hippocrates and.

The actual reference to no harm in the oath is really much stronger then ‘first do no harm’ It says the following

“I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment, and I will do no harm or injustice to them. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion. But I will keep pure and holy both my life and my art. I will not use the knife, not even, verily, on sufferers from stone, but I will give place to such as are craftsmen therein.

Into whatsoever houses I enter, I will enter to help the sick, and I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm, especially from abusing the bodies of man or woman, bond or free. And whatsoever I shall see or hear in the course of my profession, as well as outside my profession in my intercourse with men, if it be what should not be published abroad, I will never divulge, holding such things to be holy secrets.”

Although during the Nazi regime the physicians did not sign up to the oath, on a human level it makes only sense that you try to make a patient better rather then harm them. But several Nazi physicians, although they were ‘human beings’ they only acted inhumanely.

A few months ago I asked the question “Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?” I think that is a difficult question to answer. Initially I would say no, but what if some of that data was used to save the live of someone in my family. Or what if it was used to find a cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis , something I suffer from? Then the answer would probably be yes.

One thing that I don’t understand that the names of some of these evil men were still used as eponyms to describe some syndromes or disorders, long after the war and some are still being used, despite the fact that they were renamed. Below are just some examples where evil was allowed to live on.

Asperger syndrome- Replacement Term: Autism spectrum disorder.

Hans Asperger “managed to accommodate himself to the Nazi regime and was rewarded for his affirmations of loyalty with career opportunities. He joined several organizations affiliated with the NSDAP (although not the Nazi party itself), publicly legitimized race hygiene policies including forced sterilizations and, on several occasions, actively cooperated with the child ‘euthanasia’ program.

Beck–Ibrahim disease-Replacement Term: Congenital cutaneous candidiasis

Yusuf Ibrahim (May 27, 1877 in Cairo, Egypt – February 3, 1953 in Jena, Germany), also known as Yusuf Bey Murad Ibrahim, was a physician and pediatrician. He was responsible for the description of congenital cutaneous candidiasis, originally known as Beck-Ibrahim disease. The discovery of his association with the Nazi euthanasia program during the World War II resulted in an effort to rename this disease. The clinic for child and adolescent medicine at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena also chose to change its name from Kinderklinik Jussuf Ibrahim after his Nazi past was uncovered.

Cauchois–Eppinger–Frugoni syndrome-Replacement Term: Portal vein thrombosis

Hans Eppinger was born in Prague, the son of the physician Hans Eppinger. His grandmother was Jewish.Eppinger conducted cruel experiments on Romani prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp in order to test the potability of seawater. … Eppinger committed suicide with poison on 25 September 1946, one month before he was scheduled to testify in Nuremberg.

Clara cell-Replacement Term: Club Cell

Max Clara owed his career advancement in no small way to his membership in the Nazi party and active support of its programme. In his 1937 paper, Clara acknowledges that the sample he based his work on “was obtained from a prisoner executed by the Nazi ‘justice system

Hallervorden–Spatz disease-Replacement Term: Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration.

Julius Hallervorden readily admitted that 697 brains he investigated during the Nazi period were from victims of euthanasia. It is alleged that he was present at the killing of more than 60 children and adolescents in the Brandenburg Psychiatric Institution on 28 October 1940. He was reported to have removed brain material himself from euthanasia victims in a nearby extermination (euthanasia) center.

Hugo Spatz was a German neuropathologist. In 1937, he was appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research. He was a member of the Nazi Party, and admitted to knowingly performing much of his controversial research on the brains of executed prisoners. Along with Julius Hallervorden.

Reiter’s syndrome-Replacement Term: Reactive Arthritis

Hans Conrad Julius Reiter was a member of the SS. He participated in medical experiments performed by the Nazis. After the Nazis were defeated, he was arrested by the Red Army in Soviet Union-occupied Germany and tried at Nuremberg. During his detention, he admitted to knowledge of involuntary sterilization, euthanasia, and the murder of mental hospital patients in his function as the gatherer of statistics and acting as “quality control” officer, and to helping design and implement an explicitly criminal undertaking at Buchenwald concentration camp, in which internees were inoculated with an experimental typhus vaccine, resulting in over 200 deaths. He gained an early release from his internment, possibly because he assisted the Allies with his knowledge of germ warfare.

After his release, Reiter went back to work in the field of medicine and research in rheumatology. He died at age 88, in 1969, at his country estate in Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe.

Seitelberger disease-Replacement Term: Infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy

“Franz Seitelberger, a Vienna neurologist and former member of the SS, although never involved in the planning or execution of NS-euthanasia, benefited from it scientifically during the post-war period. Examining the brains of 3 ‘euthanasia’ victims from the Landesanstalt Görden in Brandenburg, Seitelberger earned his PhD in 1954 under the supervision of Julius Hallervorden.

Spatz–Stiefler reaction-Replacement Term: Paralysis agitans reaction

Under Spatz’s control and direction, the brain research institute collaborated with the killing institute at Brandenburg-Gorden, obtaining hundreds of brains from the mentally ill of all ages.

Van Bogaert–Scherer–Epstein syndrome-Replacement Term: Cerebrotendineous xanthomatosis

“During the war, Scherer]worked at the Neurology Institute in Breslau, Silesia. Here Scherer was directly involved in neuropathological brain analyses of over 300 Polish and German children euthanized in the nearby Loben Psychiatric Clinic for Youth.

Wegener’s granulomatosis-Replacement Term: Granulomatosis with polyangiitis

The facts which were uncovered do not prove Dr Friedrich Wegener guilty of war crimes. However, the evidence suggests that Dr Wegener was, at least at some point of his career, a follower of the Nazi regime. Dr Wegener’s mentor, Martin Staemmler, was an ardent supporter of the racial hygiene. In addition, our data indicate that Dr Wegener was wanted by Polish authorities and that his files were forwarded to the United Nations War Crimes Commission. Finally, Dr Wegener worked in close proximity to the genocide machinery in Lodz.

Although many of the terms were replaced, some of the original terms are still commonly used. The most common is probably the Aspergers syndrome.

I know there is quite a lot of data in this blog. I do believe it is important to understand that by using these eponyms, we are still keeping the evil alive.

sources

https://www.ima.org.il/MedicineIMAJ/viewarticle.aspx?aid=1082

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1962844/

https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/36/4/706.full

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The book of…..

book

They say that everyone has a book in them.

Just imagine the millions of books which were never written because of a regime that deemed millions unworthy of life, leave alone worthy of writing a book.

So many potential authors and scholars who never got a chance because of policies based on hate.

Dasha Mojzesch,

The book of the author  Dasha Mojzesch, who would have written a book about man’s exploration in the universe, How they researched the effects of supernovae and what effect they had on the climate on earth.

But he never got a chance to write that book, he was killed age 5.

Gyorgy Szekely,

The book of   Gyorgy Szekely, whose fairy tales set in the medieval times of Eastern Europe.Stories of dragons, knights in shiny armor, princes,princesses,kings and queens. His books read by millions around the globe.

But before he could even start thinking of writing a book he was murdered aged 15 or 16.

Sara

The book of the young brilliant scientist Sara Waas. Who chronicled her break trough research in 1960 when she was just 24. The research that not only found a cure for cancer but also for Parkinson disease.

Cures which saved the lives of so many and gave other a better quality of life.

But alas it was not to be for Sara was murdered when she was only 8.

The policies of hate by the Nazis did not only destroy the lives of so many innocent lives. It also destroyed the lives of some of their children and grandchildren. Because they destroyed potential scientists who could have discovered life altering medicines.

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